For days now, there has been whispers about the Philadelphia Eagles and DeSean Jackson. Most notably, Jackson was getting worried because Chip Kelly had stopped communicating with him. Today, it was reported that the team is shopping the All-Pro WR around the league in a trade and they're looking to get back a 3rd round pick in return for him.
The San Diego Chargers, who reportedly made an offer to WR Steve Smith last week before he signed with the Baltimore Ravens, have been searching for a deep-threat to pair with Keenan Allen. They couldn't ask for a better fit than Jackson.
Despite being just 27 years old, Jackson has made the Pro Bowl 3 times (including in 2013). Supposedly, the Eagles' new coaching staff and new team philosophy is not meshing well with Jackson's big price tag, but it could be a fit for San Diego.
Here's what I said on Twitter...
The #Chargers have $3.6 million in cap space, currently.— Bolts From The Blue (@BFTB_Chargers) March 18, 2014
The team would need $9.75 million in cap space to trade for DeSean Jackson. And more than that because they have to pay rookies.— Bolts From The Blue (@BFTB_Chargers) March 18, 2014
So, a straight trade of a 3rd rounder for Jackson couldn't happen. HOWEVER....— Bolts From The Blue (@BFTB_Chargers) March 18, 2014
What the team could do is trade for Jackson and give him a new deal. Getting his number down for this year.— Bolts From The Blue (@BFTB_Chargers) March 18, 2014
If the Chargers could work out a deal with Jackson's agent, and then with the Eagles, this could become the scariest offense in the league overnight.
If the Chargers could re-sign Jackson to a new deal, they can give him a new signing bonus and a very low salary for 2014.
Is there a precedent for this type of move?
I'm glad you asked.
Just 5 days ago, the Saints traded RB Darren Sproles to the Philadelphia Eagles for a 5th round draft pick. He was set to make $3.4 million in salary in the final year of his contract.
Instead, the Eagles signed him to a new 3-year deal, which included a $3 million signing bonus for 2014. That move lowered Sproles' cap hit this season by $1.4 million.
How could the Chargers afford DeSean Jackson?
Short term: If you trade for Jackson, his deal (for the Chargers) essentially becomes a 3-year deal worth $29.25 million, with the biggest hit coming in 2014 ($10.5 million).
I'd be more than okay offering Jackson a 3-year deal worth $30 million, with a $7 million signing bonus and a 2014 base salary of $3 million.
That would make his cap hit for this year $5.3 million. The Chargers certainly would have room for this if/when they released Jeromey Clary (who is set to count for $6.25 million against the cap if he stays).
Long term: In the above scenario, Jackson's cap hit for the final two years is about $12.3 million. Here is some money that will be coming off the books next offseason...
Would you look at that? That's roughly $12 million right there. Yeah, I think the Chargers can afford DeSean Jackson this year and next.